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FOTEP Movie Reviews

Comedy

 

The Absent Minded Professor (1961)

In this classic Disney film, Fred MacMurray is Professor Ned Brainard, a scatter-brained college professor and part-time inventor. When he discovers flubber, he delights in the possible uses. Flubber bounces like no other substance and it can even make an object fly, like a Model-T.

The movie is dated, of course, but still entertaining. It features a 50's star-studded cast with MacMurray, Nancy Wilson, Keenan Wynn and Tommy Kirk.

The Robin Williams remake, Flubber, lacks the charm.

The sequel, Son of Flubber isn't as strong a film but has its moments.

IMDB Score: 6.8/10
Amazon Score: 4.0/5

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Here's another musical that's not a musical.

Follow three blokes (I'm speaking Australian for the movie) across the desert that is central Australia as they travel to their next gig in the outback.

I'd hoped to meet a fabulous female impersonator named Priscilla, but alas, we find out early in the film that Priscilla is the bus that carries our stars across the country. But it is a small let down as we make our way through the wilderness that is Oz.

The storyline holds the viewer's interest and the outrageous costumes (Academy Award®) and lively lip-synched musical numbers are amazing.

Watch Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce (Yep, that's 007-clone Guy in those heels) and Terence Stamp join a cast of rough and tumble from the outback in this road-trip to see why the film took Cannes by storm and picked up that Academy Award® on the way.

IMDB Score: 7.3/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Airplane (1980)

Reviewed 08 June 2016

A former pilot, who's afraid of flying, jumps on a flight at the last minute to try and save his relationship with a stewardess (yes, I said it, stewardess).

This is as much a spoof of the Airport disaster films as it is a comedy in its own right.

When the pilot, co-pilot and navigator get too sick to fly the plane, he must land it safely with the aid of his stewardess girl (yes, I said it, girl).

The background action is just as funny as the gags:

Hanging Lady: Nervous?
Ted Striker: Yes.
Hanging Lady: First time?
Ted Striker: No, I've been nervous lots of times.

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

IMDB Score: 7.8/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

This one is truly a cross between comedy and horror, it's funny but suspenseful at the same time.

Two American students are on a tour of Britain when they are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed and the other, it turns out, is turned. The dead one appears to the new werewolf as a decomposing zombie/ghost to provide comic relief.

I really enjoyed this romp throught the city as a new werewolf tries to break the curse, reverting himself to human and freeing the soul of his departed friend.

Watch the special effects on this one.

IMDB Score: 7.6/10
Amazon Score: 4.4/5

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Reviewed 22 June 2016

One of my favorite plays, Arsenic and Old Lace, the movie is a riot.

Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) comes home to find that his lovely aunts have been helping poor, lonely old men to die peacefully, by helping them along with poison.

Mortimer's Brother, Jonathan (Raymond Massey), also happens to come home when he is being pursued by the law only to find out that his aunts have killed more people than he has and is upset.

Tensions mount when Jonathan refuses to leave, needing a new face by Doctor Einstein (Peter Lorre) and a place to stash his latest victim.

Mortimer needs to get rid of his brother and find a way to deal with his well-meaning aunts.

IMDB Score: 8.1/10
Amazon Score: 5.0/5

Better Off Dead (1985)

Reviewed 06 July 2016

In this off-beat comedy, Lane Myer (John Cusack), depressed over the break-up with his girlfriend, thinks of ways to kill himself but fails miserably. In a stroke of brilliance, he tries out for the ski team, headed by his ex's new beau, to impress her with his skill. Enter Monique Junot, a French foreign exchange student who turns Lane's life around after more disasters befall him.

The most memorable character is a scene-stealing paperboy ("I want my two dollars!") and a pair of Japanese teenagers who try to drag race Lane.

This is just plain funny. You'll enjoy this movie if you have a sense of humor.

IMDB Score: 7.3/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Reviewed 20 July 2016

This early Mel Brooks classic is perhaps his funniest installment of lunacy.

An all-star cast includes Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn and the master Brooks himself.

The railroad is supposed to go through a town, but the residents don't want to leave. so an unscrupulous business mogul tries to drive the people out by making the town unlivable. This includes appointing the West's first black sheriff (Little) who's deputy (Wilder) and he have to fight to keep the town.

Aside from the infamous beans scene, this is one funny night's entertainment. The movie is laughs from start to finish.

IMDB Score: 7.8/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

The Mel Brooks Collection

Reviewed 20 July 2016

Consider picking up the Mel Brooks Collection to get 8 hit Mel Brooks films:

  • Blazing Saddles (1974)
  • Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • Silent Movie (1976)
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
  • To Be or Not to Be (1983)
  • History of the World, Part 1 (1981)
  • The Twelve Chairs (1970)
  • High Anxiety (1977)
Amazon Score 4.5/5

Dogma (1999)

This is a great film, but isn't worth $40, buy this one used.

Two angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon), banished from heaven, find a way to get back in. Through a trick of religious dogma, they can expunge their sins and gain the way back to heaven. The only problem is it will destroy the world. It's up to God to stop them, but God is missing.

So it falls to Bethany and two prophets (Jay and Silent Bob) to save existence by stopping the angels (Loki and Bartleby) from reaching New Jersey.

This adventure/comedy explores some religious tenets and has a great deal of fun along the way.

IMDB Score: 7.4/10
Amazon Score: 4.0/5

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Martin Blank (John Cusack) is in Grosse Pointe for his 10 year high school reunion, and coincidentally, he's also there to kill someone. You see, Martin is an assassin.

To make the job harder, he is starting to develop a conscience, and he's got a couple of federal agents on his tail. To make matters worse, there are two assassins after him, one to kill him, another wants him to join the union.

I love John Cusack movies and having his sister Joan in them is a plus.

IMDB Score: 7.4/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

In and Out (1997)

This hilarious comedy stars Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Tom Selleck, Matt Dillon, Debbie Reynolds, Wilford Brimley and Bob Newhart.

Everyone is watching the Oscars because Cameron Drake (Dillon) is up for the award. In his acceptance speech, he outs his old high school teacher (Kline), the problem is, Howard isn't gay.

I big brouhaha erupts and every news service wants to get the scoop. A television newscaster (Selleck) hangs around to see if he can't get the story.

Meanwhile, his students are trying to help him beat this allegation, but, just to be on the safe side, could coach Brackett (Kline) wait for the team outside of the locker room?

IMDB Score: 6.3/10
Amazon Score: 5.0/5

Just One of the Guys (1985)

This is one of those teen comedies that you hate to love and I do love this movie.

Terry Griffith (Joyce Hyser) is a high school journalism student that isn't getting the recognition on her articles that she thinks she deserves. She blames her faculty advisor for not taking her seriously as a girl. So, on break from one high school, she enrolls in a cross-town rival school... as a guy. Her parents are on vacation, so... stay with me here...

Hijinks ensue as she falls for a guy, who is very accepting of his/her lifestyle choice.

The truly great part is played by Billy Jacoby as the brother that coaches her on how to be a guy.

I'd love to see this in widescreen, but you really don't miss anything in 4:3. IMDB Score 6.4/10 Amazon Score 4.3/5

Mars Attacks (1996)

"We come in peace." Don't believe it. In this comic send-up of 50s B Sci-Fi movies, Martians visit Earth under the banner of peace and that starts the mayhem.

Mars Attacks has a huge, star-studded cast and is directed by Tim Burton, but don't get too attached to Michael J. Fox's character, he's vaporized right off.

It may have just been a misunderstanding, but when a spectator releases the dove of peace, the Martian ambassador pulls out a ray gun and smokes the bird, then he vaporizes the General and everyone opens fire.

The comedy doesn't start right off, but it is wickedly funny.

IMDB Score: 6.3/10
Amazon Score: 4.0/5

MASH (1970)

The movie that started it all. The humor in this movie is not much like the humor in the TV series, but was the germ of an idea that started a TV phenomenon. Join Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland), Trapper John McIntyre (Elliott Gould), "Hot Lips" O'Houlihan, Frank Burns. Henry Blake, Father Mulcahy and Radar O'Reilly for an irreverent look at war.

The basic plot is the same as the series some screwball doctors are irreverent and un-military. This doesn't bother their commanding officer so long as the do their jobs and do it well. This does bother a couple of other officers who try to drum them out.

IMDB Score: 7.6/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Meatballs (1979)

I'm sure you've been to Scout Camp, but that doesn't really carry the flavor of an all-summer co-ed camp. (Not that I've ever been to one, but I have been on Scout camp co-ed staff.)

Meatballs is a comedy about the staff, particularly the couselors-in-training, of an all-summer camp. The leaders of this mob are Tripper (Bill Murray) and Roxanne (Kate Lynch).

The story follows these leaders and their charges and one shy boy through the summer.

Bill Murray puts in perhaps the funniest performance of his career. The movie is funny and moving.

IMDB Score: 6.2/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

My Fellow Americans (1996)

Two presidents (Jack Lemmon and James Garner) come and go and come back again to join reluctant forces to find the conspirator in the current administration and clear their names. Their lives are put in danger and the go on the run.

The deck is stacked against the two former presidents, but they have to find out who is behind Olympia and bring the perpetrator to justice.

IMDB Score: 6.5/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Office Space (1999)

Here is a cult classic about the trials and tribulations of disgruntled IT department drones in a software company.

Two consultants are brought in to help with outsourcing and downsizing. Peter, basically fed up with his job, comes in late, ignores the dress code and blows off the consultants.

In addition to Peter, we follow Samir Nagh-something, Michael Bolton (no, not the singer, dammit!) and Milton about as they too grow weary of the company and act out. (It is Milton's red stapler that has become a cult icon.)

If you've ever been a cube drone, you'll appreciate this swipe at company culture.

IMDB Score: 7.8/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

The Pink Panther (1963)

In the classic role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, Peter Sellers bumbles his way through chasing the thief The Phantom and travels to Switzerland where the famous Pink Panther diamond will be, presumably the next target of the thief.

The Phantom, Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven), is indeed after the diamond, but so is his nephew George (Robert Wagner) who plans on blaming The Phantom. But it isn't either that steal the diamond. Can Clouseau find the thief?

This is the start of a run of Pink Panther movies, along with a credible remake.

IMDB Score: 7.2/10
Amazon Score: 4.0/5

Real Genius (1985)

Real Genius is one of Val Kilmer's best movies. An early Kilmer plays the role of Chris Knight who takes under his wing a young genius Mitch Taylor who is admitted to the university. Professor Jerry Hathaway has both young men in his laser program trying to increase the power of a laser that, unknown to the students, he will be using in a weapons system for the government.

Finally discovering the plot, it is up to Chris and Mitch (and others) to stop the weapons test and discredit Hathaway.

IMDB Score: 7.0/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)

Along the lines of Shaun of the Dead this zombie comedy pits three Scouts and a "cocktail waitress" from a strip club against a town full of zombies.

This film is just plain funny.

Ben, Carter and Augie discover that the town is turning zombie when their Scout leader, Scout Leader Rogers, has turned into a zombie. They are joined by Denise and try to save the lives of the seniors at a rave party before the town is bombed into oblivion by the military.

IMDB Score 6.3/10
Amazon Score 3.9/5

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Definitely the best of the genre, Shaun of the Dead romps through a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic world poking tongue-in-cheek fun at the zombie/horror genre. The film is much more sophisticated than the slapstick approaches of the likes of the Scary Movie franchise (which itself is funny in a mind-candy way).

Shaun of the Dead is s comedy that still serves up a few chills.

Shaun, our unlikely hero, sets out to rise above his dead-end retail sales job and come to the rescue of the girl that's not his a stoner buddy and a fun ensemble of others by getting them past the horrors in the streets of London and to the dubious shelter of his favorite haunt, The Winchester, a local pub.

This is the perfect Boys/Girls Night In movie

IMDB Score: 8.0/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Stripes (1981)

Hitting rock bottom, John (Bill Murray) convinces his friend Russell (Harold Ramis) to join him in enlisting in the Army. Making a mockery of basic training, the two graduate and are assigned to the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle project, but the bungling of the team leader gets them detained behind the iron curtain.

John and Russell must then join forces with their Sergeant (and their dates) to rescue their compatriots and make good their escape.

The action is a bit contrived but the comedy is real. Stripes is a fun evening-in movie for just about everyone.

IMDB Score: 6.9/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Top Secret! (1984)

In another Val Kilmer vehicle, we join Nick Rivers (Kilmer) as a pop/rock star invited to East Germany for a cultural festival designed to keep the worlds eye trained on the festivities while they prepare a special magnetic mine for use.

A spoof on Elvis Presley and WWII spy films, the movie finds Nick joining the French underground and helps them rescue Dr. Paul Flammond before he can complete the work on the mine.

While not a musical per se, the film does feature song spoofs including Skeet Surfing, Tutti-Frutti, How Silly Can You Get/Spend the Night With Me and Are You Lonesome Tonight?

There is a little gutter humor but mostly it's good clean fun.

IMDB Score: 7.2/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

Victor Victoria (1982)

A Classic! An old fashioned comedy with a gay new twist

For those that like a musical that isn't really a musical, a comedy farce of purposeful gender confusion and a love story, you are in for a treat.

Andrews, Preston and Garner are excellent in their leading roles and the story is just involved enough to keep you entertained without losing the delightful comedy of the topsy-turvy role-play.

Look forward to comedic awkward situations, a tender love story, wonderful musical numbers (on stage, no one spontaneously bursts into song), and a great cast of characters.

Take an honest look at the gay side of Paris and the delightful rise of a down-on-her-luck woman's journey to "male" stardom.

Boys will be girls and girls will be boys being girls.

IMDB Score: 7.3/10
Amazon Score: 4.8/5

Weird Science (1985)

This is my favorite John Hughes movie from the 1980s. It doesn't really need the blu-ray treatment, but the price is right.

Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock. With Bill Paxton and Robert Downey, Jr. in bit parts.

This teen sex comedy is hilarious. Gary and Wyatt (Hall & Mitchell-Smith) create their fantasy woman (LeBrock) with a computer and a bit of magic. She turns their worlds upside-down trying to get these nerds a life and real girlfriends. With Wyatt's brother Chet (Paxton) and cool kid Ian (Downey) this movie is just plain fun.

IMDB Score: 6.6/10
Amazon Score: 4.6/5

Zombieland (2009)

Another great examble of the genre. Perhaps not quite as good as Shaun of the Dead; Zombieland fills the niche: black humor.

The price on this has dropped a bit and is worth the purchase.

Meet our first hero: Woody Harrelson (Yep, that's Woody from Cheers). Tallahassee (Harrelson) has a bit of an attitude problem. See, the vast majority of the United States has been turned into zombies and, well there's nothing else to do so he goes on a zombie killing spree on his way to the one place in the US that is zombie free, maybe.

Along the way, we pick up our second hero, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg). Columbus (like Shaun) is working hard to save the life of the girl (wait for it) that's not his... (And the girl's little sister). Now here's a relationship with its ups and downs. Seems the girl doesn't want to be rescued by the boy or anyone else, they kick their own ass thankyouverymuch.

So, it becomes a road trip to Pacific Playland (the other, only place to be without zombies) and, what-the-heck, let's just stop by an opulent mansion for the night (A nice little cameo here).

I'd say that things get out of hand here, but things have been out of hand the whole movie.

So the girls have an attitude, Tallahassee is in search of the ultimate zombie kill and Columbus is desperately clinging to his 31 rules of survival.

Make this the double-feature for that Boys/Girls Night In.

IMDB Score: 8.0/10
Amazon Score: 4.5/5

 

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